Better than ... Sitting at home on a beautiful Monday night
"C'mon, everyone stand up and sing. This is L.A., don't be too cool, I'm from here and I invented too cool," Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine yelled to the sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd. Levine and company plowed through a set of mom-rock (read: soft, pop-friendly, radio-driven rock) featuring many of the band's greatest hits, along with a few surprises sprinkled in.
The band easily won over the crowd during their 75-minute set. Levine was comfortable on stage throughout the gig; it seemed to help that the majority of the crowd appeared to be women. The only men present presumably were dragged there by their wives, who had ditched the mom jeans and kids for a wild night out rockin'.
Maroon 5 does well with the ladies largely due to their handsome front man. Throughout the night, he said it was "a dream to play the Hollywood Bowl." However, if this were true, you'd figure Levine wouldn't show up looking like he just came out of the Sports Club LA locker room (or perhaps channeling his inner George Costanza). Sporting a red cut-off t-shirt and what appeared to be Puma snap pants, Levine looked far from the rock star that the women came for.
You have to hand it to the co-star of NBC's hit show The Voice--he really knows how to work a crowd. He sounded terrific onstage, maybe better than on album. But this brings us to one of the evening's issues: stagnant stage presence of everyone not named Adam Levine. He did his best to try to get his bandmates involved, but they might as well have been marionettes up there, not really doing much of anything and letting Levine carry the show.
Nonetheless, there were plenty of highlights. First, in a business-savvy and crowd-pleasing move, Levine capitalized on his connections from his appearance on The Voice, pulling Voice winner Javier Colon onstage to nail a terrific version of Michael Jackson's "Man in The Mirror" that would have made MJ proud. Colon was as cool as the beautiful Hollywood night, and like a good mentor Levine steered him through the track while still allowing Colon a chance to shine. And the youngster did exactly that, proving that maybe The Voice has some legs for producing legitimate talent that aren't novelty acts and/or one and done musicians (yes, American Idol, I'm looking at you).
One of the pioneers in the mom-rock movement took to the stage when Stevie Nicks appeared during the first song of the encore, much to the delight of the crowd. "Leather & Lace" sounded terrific, almost as good as the original with Don Henley. The Fleetwood Mac singer doesn't sound like she used to, however, so again, Levine had to carry the song.
The most genuine moment of the evening came during set closer "To The Ladies," when Levine invited the gal who was apparently the band's number one fan -- a lady named Heather -- on stage. It was nice to see the band show appreciation to standout members of their core contingency.
Personal Bias: I am not a mom.
Crowd: Said moms and beleaguered spouses, who presumably harbored hopes that a night of Maroon 5 would lead to a night of getting some later.
Random Notebook Dump:Levine really wore warm-up pants on stage..
Set List: JAGGER
HARDER TO BREATHE
IF I NEVER
MAKES ME WONDER
MAN > MIRROR w/JAVIER COLON
NEVER GONNA LEAVE
(RIFF) WAKE UP CALL
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LEATHER AND LACE w/STEVIE NICKS
HANDS ALL OVER